In early August Tony
Berkeley radioed to say that he was surrounded by war vets, he was told
to monitor the situation. This he did keeping the guys informed. Then
Tony didn't answer the radio so the guys began to worry. Eventually they
decided they better go and see if he was okay. I think at this stage
Tony had locked himself into a room without the radio. On arrival the
guys came across the group of vets by this time they were in Tony's
garden and already appeared to be breaking into the house. One of the
var vets attacked one of the farmers on entry and then I think all
hell broke loose. The police had been called several times by Mark Shaw
before the guys went out and as the situation is they are most
unhelpful. When the police finally arrived the guys decided to go
straight to the police station to make their statements. On arrival
they were arrested without bail. Duncan Moyes, Mark Shaw, Fred Wallis
went to their assistance and were immediately arrested. all in all 23
people went to jail. the charge was public violence which should warrant
a 200 dollars fine a month later they were released on 200 000 dollars
bail. This initial amount was raised by Les de Jager and a further one
and a half million had to be paid to the lawyers this week also raised by
Les. The lawyers have told them that the legal fees will amount to more
than 10 million dollars. A frightening thought for anybody and these
guys have committed no crime. The war vets involved were released and i
think paid a 50 buck fine. After a month in Chinhoyi prison the last
thing these guys need is to worry about how they are going to raise this
kind of money.
On the 8th August we had to leave Palmerston
Estates as the Cuerdens were barricaded in and the war vets became
violent. Then the Tautes were hit. We moved in with the Johnson's and
the war vets told the street they would not be planting a crop this
year. That included ourselves, rory hensman, the hoys, derek nicolle,
and the Bryce-Rogers right up to the watsons. We were not concerned
because we had our home on Crofton next door to Two Tree Hill where charl
and tertia Geldenuys lived. On the morning of the 10th at the Johnsons
pat heard the radio it was Charl Geldenhuys informing les that he was
surrounded by war vets. Pat immediately got hold of Charl and told him
to try and get out while he could. It was unfortunately too late
they had barricaded the road with trees. Pat got hold of the member in
charge and the phone was put down on him, we tried again the same
thing happened. Les eventually tried but their was no response. In
the meantime Tertia, charl's wife, their nine month baby and daughter
reja watched from the windows. Charl managed to take photos of the crowd
looting, still no sign of police. There was also a reluctance of farmers
to go out and help because of what had happened two days earlier. Pat
was in a panic. Tertia then came over the radio to say their dog had
been shot at, charl apparently ran outside to see what was going on
and a shot was fired at him. Pat and a group of guys went out to John
Barrats to try and organize a plan on how to get charl and tertia out.
Suddenly nine hours later the police eventually arrive with a tv crew and
three ministers. Charl and Tertia were let out of the house under police
escourt then had to attend a kangaroo court presided over by the three
ministers telling them they were looting their own stuff and that they
had shot their own dog. They were astounded as you can
imagine. Charl and Tertia got off the farm. In two days they looted
all our houses in fact trashed them all that is left are the walls.
You would not believe it. Charl and Tertia Pat and I are refugeeing in a
very nice house in Rxx. trying to sort out our lives. During
that weekend 45 farm houses were looted and people beaten up in
Chinhoyi. The biggest shock to everyone of course are these huge
legal fees and as you can imagine these guys are in no position to pay
them and les ,on the looting at Two Tree alone is already down
150 million dollars. The names of
the guys are as follows:- Les de Jager (jnr); Ben de
Jager; Louis Fick; Conrad Vandermerve; Gert Pretorious (son of
Chris Pretorious; Gert Pretorious snr 73; Gert Pretorious
jnr; Gert Nel; Jannie Nel; Duncan Moyes; Robbie
Moyes; Tony Berkley; Hamish Berkley; Jim Steel; William
Steel; Tony Marillier; Kinky Taute; Norman Dolphin; Mark
Shaw; Fred Wallis; Scott Marillier; Others implicated
Neels van Heerden, Hennie Nel, Nevil Whittaker."
Can you believe that your fund raiser is now in
hiding herself, In two short months we have been trashed and looted,
stopped from farming, refugees in our own country and now on the run. I
finally succumbed to a herbal tranquilizer that they use to calm horses
who have to go into trailers. Believe it or not last Tuesday the police
phoned the refugee house, how they obtained the number don't really
know. An irrate and belligerent policeman demanded to speak to my
husband. I told him he was not available. He then proceeded to tell me
that allegations had been made against my husband. What are they I asked
politely. This was obviously a mistake as he screamed even louder
telling me my husband will be detained if he is not there in 20 minutes.
Patiently I explained that I must know what the allegations are. This was
obviously not a question to ask the police force, it threw him into a
complete and utter rabid rage. You are protecting your husband are you a
witness. He must be here in 20m minutes. I put down the phone. It rang
again I didn't answer. We phoned the lawyer, as there is a
slight reluctance in getting anybody to go down with you to the police
station as most people who do, end up behind bars themselves. The lawyer
thought it would be wise to pack a few things and leave town, So did our
security guys. So like thieves in the night we loaded our bag and
left. Unfortunately, we had forgotten our trashed furniture on the back (of the vehicle) which had been dumped at Shackleton Police Station after the raid. With
our hasty retreat we had forgotten the furniture which had been collected
that day, no time to off load so its in a fugitive state as well. So us
and the furniture are in hiding.
The Chinhoyi 24's case
has been remanded to the 1st November. I am sure it
will be remanded
again. Do they have a case? 24 guys now without passports and for
what crime.? I thank everyone who is donating to the legal fees without
you guys out there we could not hang in believe me. The numbers of us
not farming are increasing everyday. The Abuja Agreement is a laugh
and we here on the frontline know it. What else does it take to make our
cases known. Only the powers of the pen. I am so proud of the farmers
in this country they are wonderful people and they have to be, our
community is our life line and we all have to stick together. Lets hope
that we see it through.
Lots of love from the
AND SO WE WENT ELEPHANT RIDING
Going to the Hensman's
is a true African experience and nothing could have been more
wonderful than today. I was thrilled to see Mana the impala and
Hoggles the warthog still in good form. At least the war vets
haven't tampered with their stress levels. Mana was as as
graceful and ladylike as ever her manners impeccable and her delicate
beauty took my breath away. Hoggles has grown enormous
and sports a wonderful moustache and fine bristly back, her
manners have declined a bit but what she lacks in that
department she gains in character. We were so pleased to see them
looking so well and just as pleased to see Rory and Lindy still in
great spirits. Just to be In the Hensman's house is the essence of
Africa. Hoggles snugged up on the couch, mana taking
a tentative sip of your drink, an owl being looked after in a cage
and Lindy so serene caring for everyone. Its my most favourite
place. But most of all nothing can beat the elephants. Rory and
Lindy have dedicated years of their lives raising and training
african elephants and its the most marvellous experience to see how
the elephants and the Hensman's co-exist. Nobody could possibly
understand the comittment that has gone into training these elephants
and the love and trust between man and beast. Today was very special
because we went on an elephant swim. Clambering on
Sebakwe's back, holding on for dear life as we swayed down the
embankment towards the river is the most exhilirating feeling.
His big ears fanning me as he lumbered along I felt I could have
touched the treetops and I knew everybody in the party felt the same
way. Nothing could be more special than being on an elephant's back
in the middle of the river in our beloved Africa. But after the ride
like we do every day in Zim we had to face reality. The settlers
houses dotted everywhere. The careless cutting down of
Rory's precious trees. The settler's cattle grazing in Rory's
wheatlands, the constant harassment by a group of people who will
contribute nothing to this wonderful, beautiful farm. I only
feel disgust and horror at what is happening in this beautiful
country and I find it so hard to believe that this evil can prevail
and destroy what people have spent generations building up. I feel
so desperate for Rory and lindy I could cry. Is there nobody who can
help us. Love M
Poem by WB :
November 15, 2001
NO OTHER WAY
inside, I rage I cry as anguish fills my
I turn my back, I work, I eat, The pain
Exhausted, broken, finished, spent, At
last I stop to pray.
And as I listen once again I
hear God gently say Live my words. Live in Me. There is no
THE government has set new
requirements for prospective voters, which threaten to further disenfranchise
millions of voters ahead of next year's crucial Presidential
Civic organisations and the MDC yesterday said this was yet
another attempt by the ruling Zanu PF to rig the election due by April next
year, in which President Mugabe faces the biggest challenge to his 21-year
rule from the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
The State-controlled daily, The
Herald, yesterday stated that prospective voters will be required to produce
proof of residence, for the inspection of the voters' roll running from
yesterday to 9 December.
People would also have to produce either their
national identity cards, valid Zimbabwean passports or drivers'
Rural dwellers and farm workers would need confirmation by
village heads or farm owners vouching for their residence
Urban dwellers must bring title deeds or certificates of
occupation, lodgers' permits issued before 19 November 2001 or rates, water,
electricity and credit store statements in the voter's name and showing the
Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general,
yesterday said: "This is yet another attempt to disenfranchise MDC
supporters. It is a systematic way of removing MDC members from the voters'
roll. Never before have we had these requirements."
Ncube said most
people who had just turned 18 and others living with their families have no
proof of residence.
Urban dwellers and the young, who did not experience
Zimbabwe's war of liberation, are generally seen as being sympathetic to the
Most headmen are under the control of war veterans and Zanu PF
supporters and would not vouch for the residence status of MDC supporters,
Ncube said, adding that his party had received complaints from 150 people in
Mberengwa East alone. The complainants said their headmen had refused to
register them as voters. Similar complaints were received from Zvishavane, he
Ncube said he had asked his party's Elections Directorate to see
what action they could take.
Most commercial farm owners were forced
off their properties in violent invasions by war veterans.
Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), said: "I
don't know in what terms of the Act they are saying that."
for the nomination of candidates and the election of the President is
prescribed in the Electoral Act, which does not demand
"We have already condemned the electoral process
because it seems to be partisan in favour of one party," Madhuku said. "That
is part of the reason why the NCA has said it will demonstrate."
NCA says it will protest at Parliament today when proposed amendments to the
Electoral Act, which it says are tailor-made to heighten electoral
fraud during the election, are to be brought before the House.
said the NCA wanted the process done in way which inspired confidence in the
Asked for comment, Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, said:
"No. How can you come here to court just for a comment?"
Mudede was at
the High Court, where he is suing the Zimbabwe Independent and Brian Hungwe,
a reporter with the newspaper, over a story that he was a beneficiary of
loans from the late Roger Boka's collapsed United
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, said: "I don't know what you are talking about. I have
not yet read The Herald. I need to read it first."
and the MDC have already criticised the government for the proposed
amendments, under which the government intends to designate the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC) as the only body that can conduct voter
The amendments seek to ban foreign funding for voter
education, except where the funds are channeled through the ESC, which is
solely appointed by the government.
Only uniformed forces and staff at
Zimbabwean diplomatic missions abroad will be allowed to vote through the
But the MDC said the system disenfranchises thousands of
Zimbabweans living abroad.
Madhuku said the fact that the government
had begun inspection of the voters' roll meant that it knew when the election
would be held, but had not yet made this public only four months before the
THE government is
trying to use the abduction and killing of Cain Nkala as an excuse to crack
down on anyone opposed to it.
President Mugabe's vow to crush the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and description of the opposition and
the commercial farmers as "terrorists", is an attempt to condition the public
and the world to measures the government is proposing against them.
labelling them terrorists, the government wants to draw parallels between how
the United States has responded to the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York
and Washington DC, and how Zimbabwe should respond to the abduction
and killing of Nkala.
Washington has responded to the attacks in which
more than 6 000 lives were lost by a sustained bombing campaign of
Afghanistan, the host country to Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the 11
September attack on America.
The international community has agreed on
naming and describing actions that constitute terrorism. They have also
agreed on the specific action against anyone suspected of terrorism and those
deemed sympathetic to terrorist activities.
The wide coverage the
government has given to the tragic abduction and killing of Nkala seeks to
lay the foundation and justification for its proposed crackdown on the
opposition and those it considers its enemies.
The government is
uncertain of its prospects of winning next year's presidential race. That is
why it has decided to define the opposition as terrorists. Its aim in doing
so is four-fold: The first is to crack down on the opposition. Mugabe's vow
to "crush the MDC" should be seen in that light.
The second is to take
out the MDC's perceived domestic sympathisers and if they are foreign, to ban
The third is to derail the MDC presidential campaign strategy by,
among other things, sowing seeds of mistrust and general destabilisation of
the opposition. The fourth and ultimate strategy is the arrest of the
entire leadership of the MDC.
The irony of these strategies is that
this is exactly how Ian Smith used to deal with African nationalists -
today's ruling elite - until just before independence in 1980. Of course,
Smith will admit his propaganda failed contrary to what his spin doctors led
him to believe, but what is happening now is precisely a re-enactment of what
took place under Smith.
In the long-term, the threatened crackdown will
not work, although in the immediate, it will buy the ruling party and its
government relief by removing competition from the contest.
the war veterans urged Mugabe to declare a state of emergency. This is where
this theatre of political tragedy is leading us. The government is afraid of
putting itself to the test and rather than risk losing, it seeks to impose
itself and disregard the wishes of the majority.
The government has no
intention of respecting the wishes of the majority, where it appears they are
likely to go against it. It is for this reason that the government feels
threatened by the presence of foreign observers.
Foreign observers were
welcome during previous electoral contests. Why is the government suddenly
unsettled by their presence this time, when such presence will only help to
render the whole exercise more transparent and assure it of international
The only conclusion is that the government is up to no good.
It is panicking because its intelligence knows that given a free and fair
contest, it is difficult to guarantee its success at the presidential poll
due by April next year.
The government's problem is that it
misrepresents itself by not listening to what the people want. The programmes
it is busy banning from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation offer it an
invaluable research and insight into the pulse of the concerns and
aspirations of the people, if only it can take time to listen
From the news over the last week end for good
reasons there is concern around the world, and locally.
To fill in facts gathered from various sources
(political connections, factory workers and domestic workers):
On Friday morning a bunch of Zanu bandits mostly
from Harare (transported by train) arrived in Bulawayo. At Renkinini (the
standard bus/taxi area in Bulawayo they were fired up with speeches by Dumiso
Dabengwa and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. Following this they went on a rampage of
Bulawayo. They were escorted by police but assaulted everyone on the streets,
including school children and the elderly but particularly whites, in their
"peaceful demonstration" to the ignorance of the police escorting them. For
those of you who are familiar with Bulawayo, this started in the area around
Lobengula St. where Convent Girls High School is. The school cancelled public
exams for the day and told everyone to go home. Some girls were beaten up by
the peaceful police escorted demonstrators and were hospitalised. Two white
girls were more lucky. Two black men seeing the trouble coming pulled them into
a doorway and shielded with their arms to prevent the mugabe (no capital for a
disgusting animal!) bandits from recogising them as white and protecting
The mugabe bandits robbed and looted flea market
owners of their wares - everything from shoes to TV sets and foreign currency
tradionally dealt in by the Vapostori sect.
The mugabe bandits beat people at random in
Bulawayo and then proceeded to the MDC offices which they burnt, ignited with
petrol supplied from a container carried in a police vehicle. The Fire brigade
was prevented from putting out the fire by mugabe bandits (hereafter referred to
as mb's -news reports refer to them as war veterans but from their age, around
20-30, they are mb's!), and the police.
However, the people of Bulawayo are made of stern
stuff. It must be made clear that no word went out from the MDC to attack the
mb's. Given the amount of warning it would have been impossible to rally party
supporters. Spontaneously, around 1000 people hit the streets and started
beating the mb's back along 6th avenue where Zanu Bulawayo HQs are, with the
obvious intention of burning them down. The police, however, were ready and had
blocked off all roads. They were forced back to the Zanu HQ where they were
finally too strong for a bunch of unprepared irate citizens of the city. The
tear gas flew. The citizens retreated and remembered ZDECO (Zimbabwe Distance
Education College - owned by, and opened by Sikhanyiso Ndlovu when he was
Minister Of Higher Education). They went there and burnt it down.
Later there were spontaneous skirmishes in
Entumbane where the mb's got beaten by the citizens.
Later the mb's wanted to get back on the train to
Harare which is meant to leave at 8.00 pm. There was a send off committee
waiting for them. They got beaten again. This time seriously and the police
had to fire shots in the air to call off the action. The train finally left
at 11.00 pm.
It seems that it was not a good visit to Bulawayo
On Monday morning a building contractor was asked
to assess the damage to the MDC building. It appears that because it was built
in the first half of the 20th century the builders used lime instead of cement.
The former is more flexible under fire whereas the latter is inclined to
explode. The net result is that the damage is not as great as might have been
expected. Lintels are intact and although the glass in the windows has melted
and the window frames have buckled, the structural damage is not nearly as great
as might have been expected. Most importantly, volunteers were there and in a
couple of hours had cleaned up the superficial mess. Banners were flying
indicating that Morgan Tsangirayi was going to be the president next year and
graffitti was on the burnt walls stating that this was the work of mugabe"s
criminals and that it was the last kick of a dying donkey. What was great was
the fact that everyone had their tails up. You can burn a peoples' building but
you cannot burn their spirit.
It is anticipated that within a week part of the
structure should be functional as a REGIONAL MDC HEADQUARTERS.
year's Presidential election promises to expose Zimbabweans to their worst
experiences in two decades, unless it is handled with extreme care.
before has the government's action dominated activity in every facet of our
lives, in such a significant and telling way, by involving itself in what
could essentially be the private person.
That behaviour is normally
associated with individuals or groups that are under siege, battling to get
out of discomfort through random mudding and ruckus spatter. Overnight, the
entire nation has been dragged into a state of sizzling derangement and a
psyche of self-defence.
Crucial policy changes are made, amended and
announced at funerals, weddings, tea parties, and other unexpected
Criminals, who have a right to support any political party,
are re-baptised and ordered to implicate their local political priests in all
sorts of vices, whenever they are arrested. Puppets, terrorists and saboteurs
are suddenly loitering around our door step, threatening our
Urban workers and anyone born after independence are
demonised, despised and suspected of near treason.
Villagers and farm
workers, hostages in political custody since February 2000, are frightened
and crying out for relief. Race, ethnic and community relations are
Honesty, public service and an essential chip of public
journalism have been terribly messed up. The police are displaying selective
enthusiasm on crime, safety and security - even on dangerous sins like
kidnappings and abductions.
Laws, which ordinary citizens and civil
society have fought for years to change because they muffled generic
freedoms, are being tightened to reduce and even take away the little
flexibility we enjoyed in the past 21 years.
The climate is heavy. It
will get worse. No meaningful election can take place under such
There is absolutely nothing sacred about the whole
If a traditional election usually results in a meaningful
political competition, then President Mugabe must seek a postponement until
such time when his government and Zimbabwe have put sufficient mechanisms to
save us from an irreversible descent into Hades.
This election holds
Zimbabwe's last chance. The doors are now wide open and nobody may be able to
close them, especially when all kinds of winds are swirling up in the
Instead of subjecting the nation to ridicule within the SADC
neighbourhood and even beyond, the government must simply swallow its bile
and admit that it is not ready to run an open, transparent
The inspection of the voters' roll was supposed to start last
week. It was postponed. Even if it had started, it is difficult to see how
this could be done when voter registration is still on. When will those
voters who register now be able to check if their names are on the roll or
The Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), whose constitutional
mandate is to supervise that activity, merely exists on paper. And, as
earlier reported, if voters are to cast ballots in their respective
constituencies in that emotional election, then the Delimitation Commission
will have to be reconstituted to redraw electoral boundaries. To do this, the
Commission needs a complete voters roll. Last year, Justice Wilson Sandura
worked overtime to finish the work. If the voter registration and
inspection processes are set to end just before, or by Christmas, then let us
give the whole game a thorough rethink.
Internationally, we are
sitting on a knife edge. We were convicted, condemned, executed a long time
ago. Some may argue that the verdict was reached before trial. Our appeal, in
the circumstances, can only be heard through a bloodless, clean and
The European Union, the United States of America,
President Bakili Muluzi, the current SADC chairman and SADC have given us
deadlines to shape up or risk being dumped into the middle of
It is useless to argue that we are acting within our laws. What
if those laws are unjust? We have to deal with perceptions of deceit,
deception and dishonesty to retain a lanyard of legitimacy and
The process and its result must be above suspicion.
postponement will give everybody breathing space, through
limited politicking. It will give the government ample time to prepare for
the election and repair its dented image.
Under the Constitution, a
delay or postponement requires a two-thirds approval of Parliament. It needs
MDC support, which is possible if Zanu PF agrees to key conditions, such as a
code of conduct, public safety, access to the public media and basic
The intervening period could be used to help establish peace and
stability and, perhaps push the fighters to listen to each other.
draft code of conduct worked out by a multi-party committee just before the
February 2000 referendum was scuttled and never used in the
June parliamentary election. It can be revived.
Parliamentary committee could hammer out an acceptable Constitution, taking
in positive ideas from the colonial Lancaster House law, the rejected
Constitutional Commission document and the angry National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) draft.
The NCA says it is unhappy with an election under
the present Lancaster House Constitution. It has already dismissed the
result, long before the voting starts. Their argument is that the
Constitution is so central to issues of governance and elections, making it
impossible for Zimbabwe to proceed under the present set up. As expected, the
other version of civil society, the government-funded non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), known by the acronymn Gongos, do not share the same
views. Their leaders are on television every day, representing no
The continuing rounds of changes to the Electoral Act, the Cain
Nkala story, new orders on the land dispute and the latest attacks on the
opposition and the media show that there is no need for an election. The
atmosphere is just not ripe for a meaningful game.
"It would be highly
irregular for civil servants to monitor themselves," argues Reginald
Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network. "This would
be equivalent to a candidate setting an examination, sitting in that
examination, supervise that examination and later marking his or her own
Zimbabwe must wait, recover lost skin and re-join the
Zimbabwe groups call mass protest over election
HARARE, Nov. 20 — Zimbabwe civic groups have called for a
mass demonstration in Harare on Wednesday against what they see as government
plans to tighten electoral rules in its favour ahead of next year's
ZAPU, led by Agrippa
Madlela, will contest next year's presidential election. In an interview at
the weekend, the secretary-general of the party, Paul Siwela, said the party
will meet soon to select a candidate to contest against Robert Mugabe for
Zanu PF and the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai for the post of
"We will field a candidate for the presidential
election next year because we're confident of forming the next government. We
will hold a special conference of the national executive committee on 15
December to select a candidate," he said. The candidate was likely to be
one of the party's three top men - Madlela, his deputy Smith Mbedzi and
Siwela himself. Siwela said Zapu strongly believes in a federal system of
government in which the country would be divided into five autonomous states,
each under a governor who will report to the President.
"Our system of
government envisages five states namely Manicaland, Mashonaland, Masvingo,
Midlands and Matabeleland. Each state will have its own constitution, budget,
executive, judiciary and a High Court with the Supreme Court in Harare. Our
system would have a small cabinet, at most 18 cabinet ministers from all the
five states," Siwela said. "We feel strongly that we have support nationwide,
although our base is in Bulawayo," said Siwela. In the 2000 parliamentary
election Zapu fielded 26 candidates and received a total of 78 000
recalls a warning he gave his main rivals in the
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's warning that he
will crush the opposition for plotting against his government is likely to
see a rise in political violence before elections next year, analysts said
But the increasingly unpredictable Zimbabwean leader could
also ban the opposition or jail its leadership under sweeping presidential
powers if he still felt vulnerable, they said.
In a chilling verbal
attack on his foes at the funeral of a slain war-veterans leader on Sunday,
Mugabe said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's days were
He did not elaborate, but political analysts said Mugabe's
message recalled a warning he gave his main rivals in the 1980s.
that warning, his ruling ZANU-PF party embarked on an orgy of violence in
Joshua Nkomo's opposition stronghold which left thousands dead
and effectively crushed Nkomo's ZAPU party.
The analysts said Mugabe's
militant supporters are likely to step up a campaign to cripple Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC before presidential polls due by April, and the government
could ban the MDC if violence, intimidation and imprisonment fails seriously
to weaken the party.
"I don't think there should be any question about
whether Mugabe will crush the opposition because he has done it before, and
has been trying to do it in the past year," said Elphas Mukonoweshuro, an
analyst at the University of Zimbabwe.
Events in the southern African
nation are worrying outsiders, including Amara Essy, the Secretary General of
the Organisation of African Unity, who expressed concern yesterday that
events in Zimbabwe could harm moves towards an African Union.
accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Sunday of cofunding what he
called a "terrorist plot" against his government and vowed to crush
Chenjerai Hove, a leading Zimbabwean political and
social commentator, said Mugabe could consider mass detentions, and bannings
because the MDC has remained strong despite a 22-month-old campaign of
Tsvangirai who is expected to give Mugabe the stiffest
challenge of his career in the presidential elections says the MDC will not
boycott the elections whatever the obstacles.
Welshman Ncube said: "We know that they are going to try everything,
including assassinating our leadership, but our belief is that the people of
Zimbabwe are not going to allow them to succeed in any devious
ZANU-PF chief spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said yesterday
Mugabe's speech was clear and needed no interpretation.
At least 31
people, most of them opposition supporters, were killed in violence before
the June 2000 parliamentary election in which the MDC won 57 of the 120
MDC leader Tsvangirai warned on Friday of possible civil
unrest across the country after ZANU-PF militants burned down his party
offices in Bulawayo and his supporters torched a college owned by a senior
ZANU-PF official in retaliation.
Mugabe plunged Zimbabwe into a severe
economic crisis last year when he allowed militants to invaded whiteowned
farms in support of his land seizure drive.
Tuesday 20 November
ZIMBABWE: Civil society to stage mass rally against election act
JOHANNESBURG, 20 November (IRIN) - Civil rights groups in Zimbabwe plan
to stage a mass rally in the capital Harare on Wednesday against proposed
amendments to the electoral act which would deny many Zimbabweans the right to
vote in upcoming elections.
NGOs, civic organisations and human rights
bodies believe the amendments put forward by President Robert Mugabe's
government will notably curb the voting rights of Zimbabweans living abroad -
many believed to support the opposition - in next year's presidential elections,
due to be held before April.
"The demonstration will show the revulsion
of the people of Zimbabwe to what we see as great fraud," Douglas Mwonzora,
spokesman for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a broad-based
coalition of civic, religious and opposition groups, told a news conference on
According to an article by the Electoral Institute of Southern
Africa (EISA) published on Tuesday, the amendments would designate the
under-funded Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) as the only body to conduct
civic education and would ban foreign funding unless directed to the ESC. Civil
society organisations would therefore be prohibited from providing civic
The EISA also noted that the amendments would mean that only
civil servants will be permitted to observe the elections. But after more than
two decades of ZANU-PF rule, the civil service is widely regarded as a partisan
International observers have also been blocked, the article
said, notably in the September expulsion of a team from the US-based
International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Efforts by the US
government and the European Union (EU) to gain clarification on what role, if
any, would be possible for international election observers have been
The NCA and its supporters plan to gather outside
parliament around midday on Wednesday to bar the country's deputies from
entering the building to debate the proposed amendment. "This motion must not be
entertained at all," Mwonzora said.
The amendments to the electoral act,
which were reported in the state-run Herald newspaper, stipulate that voters
need to provide title deeds, certificates of occupation or lodgers' cards as
proof of residence before they can register to vote.
But many city
dwellers do not own properties and live in illegal, make-shift structures in the
city's working class suburbs. Village heads and traditional leaders will have to
vouch for voters who live in rural areas. Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a civic organisation, told AFP
that the new regulations were a worrying development.
"We are really
worried about these changes and measures which don't seem to abide by the
constitution," he said. The ZESN also questioned the government's decision to
introduce the new regulations ahead of the presidential polls. "We should always
be aware that flawed electoral processes are often a source of conflict," warned
Tsvangirai accuses police of protecting Nkala's
11/20/01 8:56:05 AM (GMT +2)
Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC, yesterday accused
the police of protecting the killers of the Bulawayo war veterans' leader,
Cain Nkala, by blaming his party.
He was speaking to
representatives of diplomatic missions in Harare on the MDC's perspective
concerning the abduction and murder of Nkala.
Tsvangirai said: "We
believe that the police know the real killers of Nkala but want to protect
them by shifting the blame on the MDC." He said Nkala's murder had denied the
MDC the right to establish his guilt or innocence in the courts in the
Patrick Nabanyama case. Nabanyama, the election agent for the now Bulawayo
South MP, David Coltart of the MDC, in the parliamentary election last year,
was abducted in broad daylight by 10 war veterans in the run-up to the poll
and is presumed dead.
Tsvangirai said: "We are dismayed that the war
veterans' leadership and the government are accusing the MDC of the abduction
of Nkala. The MDC has nothing to do with the abduction. We are a peace-loving
and non-violent party. Under extremely difficult circumstances in the face of
killings, beatings and intimidation we have refrained from
retaliating." Tsvangirai said that the MDC believed that the people who
abducted Nkala were among the war veterans' leadership and the murder arose
out of their own power struggles.
Those represented at the briefing
were Botswana, South Africa, The Netherlands, Norway, Canada, Switzerland,
the United States of America, Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain, Belgium, France
and the European Union. Tendai Biti, the MDC's secretary for foreign affairs,
said that Zanu PF had used the same smear tactics it was now using against
the MDC to destroy the late Joshua Nkomo's PF-Zapu and the late Ndabaningi
Sithole, the leader of Zanu. Biti said: "They are not going to succeed.
This time they are dealing with a tougher opponent - the masses of
The Zimbabwe Supreme Court has dismissed subversion charges brought by the
government against the leader of the country's main opposition party.
court has ruled that a colonial-era law invoked to prosecute Morgan Tsvangirai
violated his constitutional right to a fair trial.
He had been indicted
on allegations he incited an overthrow of the government.Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 14:05 GMT
Court victory for Mugabe opponent
Mr Tsvangirai is now free to run in
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has dismissed charges of terrorism
and sabotage against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Presidential polls are due early next
In its ruling, the court said the charges contravened sections of the
If Mr Tsvangirai had been convicted and forced to serve a jail sentence, the
leader of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
could have been prevented from standing in next year's elections.
The decision will be welcomed by government critics who fear that
intimidation and a series of new appointments have swung the judiciary behind
The Supreme Court found unanimously that the charges contravened the section
of the constitution stating that a person charged with a criminal offence shall
be presumed innocent until proven or pleaded guilty.
The charges related to a speech Mr Tsvangirai made at an MDC rally last
September, in which he said Mr Mugabe could be removed from office by violent
means if he did not go peacefully.
Tsvangirai was charged under colonial-era
Mr Tsvangirai later withdrew his statement. He had
described the charges as politically motivated.
According to Reuters, the judges also agreed by a four to one majority that
the charges also contravened section 20 of the constitution that guarantees
freedom of expression.
Zimbabwe's judges have frequently ruled against Mr Mugabe in the past,
earning them the wrath of the authorities.
But four judges were forced to resign this year and several new appointments
were seen as sympathetic to Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
The ruling on Mr Tsvangirai is one of the first politically sensitive
decisions to have been made in the wake of the new appointments.
Gubbay was forced to
It will go some way to allaying fears that the judiciary
has finally bowed to government threats and insults.
Zimbabwe's most senior judge, Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, was forced to
resign earlier this year after he was told his safety could no longer be
Mr Gubbay, who is white, was also accused of being a "colonial relic".
He was replaced in March by Godfrey Chidyausiku, a former deputy minister in
Mr Mugabe's cabinet.
Bulawayo-based reporter, Mduduzi Mathuthu, and photographer Grey
Chitiga were released from police custody last night without charges being
preferred against them.
There were efforts by the police to
persuade them to turn state witnesses. The two refused. The two
journalists were picked up on Sunday to prevent them from publishing an
interview with an MDC activist who had revealed details of the kidnapping and
murder of war veterans' leader Cain Nkala.
They spent Sunday night at
different prisons, Mathuthu at Esigodini and Chitiga at Figtree, places about
40km from Bulawayo. Earlier senior police officers disappeared when a lawyer
and a senior official of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the
publishers of The Daily News, tried to secure the release of the
Innocent Kurwa, the ANZ operations manager, last night had given up
hope of securing the journalists' release after the police officers who
arrested the two could not be found. Kurwa said the police had earlier
said that the two did not have a case to answer so they should be released.
"We started dealing with senior police officers on the case, but one-by-one
they have been disappearing and now we are left with only three junior
officers," he said. The police move is believed to be part of an effort to
prevent The Daily News from publishing details that might disprove Zanu PF's
claims that Nkala was killed by MDC members.
MOZAMBIQUE has deployed a police crack unit from the capital
Maputo to towns and centres close to the border to flush out and deport
The unit, referred to as the Red Berets
and armed with AK rifles, small firearms and sniffer dogs, has for the past
week been conducting door-to-door searches for Zimbabweans who they round-up
and deport. The deportation of Zimbabweans, which initially started in Beira,
has now been extended to Chimoio, Manica and Machipanda - all Mozambican
towns and centres close to the border with Zimbabwe. "They are moving from
house to house with sniffer dogs in areas they suspect Zimbabweans could be
staying," a Zimbabwean law enforcement source said last week, referring to
the Red Berets.
Last week, a Mr Rafael, a Mozambican immigration
officer in Beira told The Daily News during a telephone interview that his
government had intensified efforts to rid the country of all foreign
nationals living there illegally. Rafael also said non-Mozambicans caught
trading in commodities without authorised documents were being
But some of the deported Zimbabweans disputed that assertion,
saying Mozambicans were indiscriminately targeting them - regardless of
whether or not they had valid visas and trade documents. Other nationals,
the Zimbabwean deportees said, were not being subjected to the same
treatment. Tineyi Chigudu, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Home
Affairs, said Zimbabwean authorities were aware of the deportations. He said
the government still had to take a position on the matter.
number of deportees since last Saturday could not be established. But more
than 300 Zimbabweans were believed to have been deported from Mozambique by
Friday last week. The first group, about 150 from Beira, arrived in Mutare on
Wednesday last week. Immigration officials in Mutare at the weekend referred
all questions to their head offices in Harare. On Friday, another group of
150 deportees arrived in Mutare. Elasto Mugwadi, the chief immigration
officer, requested this newspaper to submit questions in writing. He,
however, had not responded by the time of going to press.
deportations appear to be putting a further strain on the two neighbours,
political allies since Zimbabwe's liberation war. Relations soured when
Zimbabwe prohibited the export of essential items such as sugar, maize-meal,
cooking oil, soap, beer and beverages - which have a ready market in
Mozambique - to forestall shortages on the domestic market. Mozambicans on
shopping trips to Zimbabwe have complained lately about increased harassment
by local law enforcement officers.
cash-strapped Zimbabwean government, which is facing a severe
foreign currency crisis with skyrocketing external and domestic debts, says
it will repay more than US$570 million (about Z$31,4 billion) to various
creditors by the end of the year.
However, the government has not said
how it would raise this amount, coming at a time when exports continue to
dwindle and the economy's performance is erratic.
Dr Simba Makoni, the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development in his 2002 National Budget
presented in Parliament two weeks ago, pointed out that the government had a
total external payment arrears amounting to US$682,3 million as of 26 October
He said the government would repay a total of US$571,7 million by
the end of December, this year.
Zimbabwe continues to default on
repayments much to the disgruntlement of the international community
including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the major
funders of the country's economic recovery programme. Makoni said the country
owed multi-lateral organisations US$225 million as of 26 October, this
The government has promised to repay US$84,4 million by the end of
He said the government owed the IMF US$69,2 million, the World
Bank (US$41,9 million), the African Development Bank (ADB) US$92,3 million
and other creditors, US$21,6 million.
Makoni said the government would
repay the creditors - IMF, World Bank, the ADB and others
million, US$26,2 million, US$25,5 million, and US$10,9 million, respectively,
by the end of the year.
However, Dr Makoni pointed out that the country's
parastatals also owed a large chunk of money which was included in the
shocking total arrear figures.
Parastatals, which are controlled by
the government, continue to milk billions from the fiscus.
are required to plough back some of their annual dividends to the government
when they declare a profit.
Some of the parastatals that have already
done so include the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Limited, Dairibord Zimbabwe
Limited, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe Limited, as well as
the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Limited.
the few parastatals that are viable and have managed to reap profits for the
Makoni said total parastatal arrears amounted
to US$232,6 million as at 26 October, this year.
Repayment by the
parastatals would be US$331,1 million by the end of December.
parastatals owe multi-lateral organisations US$58,4 million and have promised
to repay US$36,3 million by the end of the year.
Makoni said the
parastatals owe the World Bank US$30 million, the ADB, US$9,4 million, and
other donors US$19 million.
The minister said the parastatals had
promised to repay US$4,1 million, the ADB (US$15,4 million) and other
creditors (US$16,8 million), respectively, by the end of the year.
figures, he said, had been supplied by his ministry as well as the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe.
I SHOULD say to start with that I have never met Phillip Magwaza,
the political editor of The Herald, and I bear him no ill will.
the last few days I cannot think that I was aware of his existence (nor he of
mine, I'm sure). I do not doubt that he loves his children, pays his taxes
and is probably kind to animals too.
But my reason for writing this is
that Magwaza is a disgrace to his profession.
I became dimly aware of
Magwaza when I saw an article of his, last Wednesday, comparing the MDC to
I barely took note, except to think that here was someone who
did not have journalistic standards at the forefront of his mind. I did not
regard it as terribly pernicious, simply because I could not imagine anyone
taking it seriously.
Then on Friday there appeared another piece under
Magwaza's byline, describing the last moments of Cain Nkala. For those who
missed it, here is a flavour: "Minutes before Bulawayo war veterans'
chairman Cde Cain Nkala was killed, he pleaded with his abductors to let him
"The gag around his mouth was removed, in Biblical style, like what
Jesus Christ did, Cde Nkala asked that God should forgive his captors because
they did not know what they were doing . . .
"As the shallow grave was
dug, Cde Nkala began to sing. Irked by his singing the kidnappers put on the
gag again. The dreaded shoelace was then tightened like a noose around his
neck. Slowly and painfully, he struggled for breath." And so
There are two possible explanations for this story before we come to
the obvious one.
The first is that Magwaza witnessed the murder of
Nkala. This is admittedly unlikely, since the MDC members allegedly
responsible would not usually take a journalist from the government-owned
Zimbabwe Newspapers stable along on a killing spree.
But this is a
remote possibility and perhaps even now Bulawayo detectives are taking
Magwaza's witness statement.
The next explanation, which is slightly more
likely, is that Magwaza has interviewed those who committed the
This immediately runs into the same objection. Why would MDC
murderers speak to the man from The Herald?
If this is indeed the
source of Magwaza's story, then we probably won't see him testifying in
court, since this would be hearsay, but I'm sure the Bulawayo police will
still be interested in his interview notes.
Of course, you, I and Magwaza
all know that he need not worry about a visit from the detectives for the
very simple reason that he made the whole thing up.
It is really
difficult to know where to start listing Magwaza's
The fact that Magwaza only seems to be on nodding
acquaintance with the English language is the least of his shortcomings
("Like what Jesus did"?).
And how does removing a gag "Biblical style"
differ from doing it any other way?
Perhaps I dozed through Sunday
school the week we did Leviticus on gag removal.
Consider, for a
moment, the feelings of Nkala's family. Has Magwaza thought for a moment how
Nkala's widow and son (for whom he professes great sympathy) would feel about
a detailed description of the last moments of their husband and
The same question could be put to ZBC with their graphic footage
of him being dragged from his grave.
It is an ethical principle of
journalism not to intrude into private grief.
The only possible
circumstance in which this might be justified would be if there was an
overriding public interest.
This leads directly to the next professional
misdemeanour. By the time Magwaza's article appeared, several people had been
charged in connection with Nkala's murder, placing the matter sub judice. So
the public interest was in the impartial progress of the judicial process,
not uninformed speculation. We wait, but not with bated breath, for Magwaza
to be charged with contempt of court.
Then, of course, there is the
article's simple lack of truthfulness. If Magwaza would seriously have us
believe that this is an account of Nkala's last moments, then we really need
more than just his saying so. Who are his sources? No serious newsroom in the
world would countenance running a story of such potentially inflammatory
impact with no evidence to substantiate it.
And this is Magwaza's
greatest professional dereliction. As I write this, Bulawayo has been hit by
serious violence. Whether anyone has died yet, I do not know, but it is
surely only a matter of time. These will be real, messy, horrible deaths
(like Nkala's and Patrick Nabanyama's), not the fictional, "Biblical style"
demises of Magwaza's imagination.
The duty of any responsible journalist
in this situation is to report factually, in a manner aimed at dampening,
rather than inflaming, violent sentiments. No one supposes that it is easy to
report violent death in a manner that is not upsetting. But that is precisely
why strictly truthful reporting is so important, rather than speculation or,
still worse, fictionalising.
I hesitate to impute to Magwaza the worst
possible motive. To give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he does not
realise that this sort of trash could incite people to commit violent
Perhaps Bulawayo war veterans do not read The Herald, which would
let him off the hook, though after the last few days many journalists at the
ZBC might want to examine their consciences.
What Magwaza has put out
is not so different from the propaganda of Rwandan journalists in the early
1990s. Some of them are currently serving long prison sentences, after
conviction by the International Tribunal in Arusha.
Magwaza is probably
not yet contemplating a future behind bars, but I don't know how he can face
himself in the mirror every morning.
Richard Carver is a former
journalist and a writer on media and human rights.
1. Today, the front page of the state-owned
Herald carries an article stating that David Coltart MP has evacuated his family
to South Africa, and insinuated that he is himself in hiding. This is not true.
Mr Coltart's children are at school in Bulawayo, and if Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo cares to look across the floor of Parliament today when it
reconvenes, he will see Mr Coltart on the Opposition benches, along with all the
other MDC MPs, with the exception of Fletcher Dulini-Ncube MP, who is still in
2. Two days ago, the state-owned Sunday Mail
reported that Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the MDC, had held a meeting with
western diplomats at the US Embassy in Harare, at which he had promised to
reverse all land reforms. This was the response of the public affairs spokesman
at the US Embassy :
"The story in the Sunday Mail of November 18
alleging a meeting among western diplomats and Movement for Democratic Change
President Morgan Tsvangirai at the US Embassy on November 8 is false. No such
meeting occurred on November 8 or any other date. The US Embassy regrets that at
this critical time in Zimbabwe's history, when the nation especially needs
factual news reporting, the Sunday Mail chose to publish this baseless story.
The Embassy's spokesman is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week to answer
questions of fact or clarify US policy. The Sunday Mail did not contact the
Embassy's spokesman for verification of or comment on the story."
HARARE - Fears that President Robert Mugabe's government is
moving towards the declaration of a state of emergency in Zimbabwe are
growing following his accusations that the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change is guilty of "terrorism". In an emotionally charged weekend speech
at the funeral of Cain Nkala, former war veteran leader, the president
referred to the MDC and the country's white farmers as "terrorists" at least
Political analysts say that this is partly an attempt to
associate Zimbabwe with the global coalition against terrorism, but also to
prepare public opinion for a move against the MDC.
"The MDC and their
supporters should know that their days are numbered. The time is now up for
the MDC terrorists," he said.
The president's accusations are supported
by news reports in the state-owned media. Both state radio and the government
owned daily newspapers claim repeatedly that the "suspected MDC terrorists"
abducted and murdered Nkala.
Nkala was kidnapped the day before he was
due to give evidence in court about the disappearance of Patrick Nabanyama,
an MDC activist who vanished during the election campaign 17 months
Opposition and human rights groups claim Mr Nkala was on the brink
of fleeing to Britain because he believed his life to be in danger from
war veterans in the Bulawayo area.
The government version is very
different. It claims that last Friday the MDC attacked and burned down its
own offices in Bulawayo to destroy incriminating evidence of the party's
involvement in Nkala's murder.
State radio also said the MDC had
prevented the fire brigade from putting out the blaze. But eyewitness reports
say war veterans and supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF ransacked and burned
the MDC's regional office.
On Sunday, the state media reported that at a
secret meeting with western diplomats, Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader who
will stand against Mr Mugabe in the presidential election in March, had
promised to reverse the government's fast-track land resettlement
The Sunday Mail claimed that Tsvangirai made this pledge to
western diplomats at a meeting at the US embassy in Harare. But a senior
western diplomat yesterday described the claims as false, adding that no
such meeting had been held.
In a political cartoon, unintentionally
highlighting Zimbabwe's isolation, the state-owned Herald newspaper yesterday
depicted Tsvangirai as an ally of the independent media in Zimbabwe, the
European Union, the Commonwealth, Britain and Denmark.
media are also being used to portray a more favourable picture of the
economic situation than that outlined in the recent budget by Simba Makoni,
the finance minister.
State radio reported on Monday that the officially
calculated 97.9 per cent inflation figure for October was inaccurate because
it failed to take account of price controls, imposed last
Economic "experts", reported by the radio, said price controls
would lead to a fall in inflation by the end of the year.
that official propaganda is becoming increasingly hysterical, as well as
unbelievable, underlines growing government panic that is losing the battle
for the hearts and minds of the electorate," one MDC politician
Although MDC leaders say next year's election cannot possibly be
free or fair, they remain confident of winning. "It is not so much a matter
of the MDC's popularity," says one analyst but "sheer hatred" for
ZIMBABWE's government announced plans yesterday to slash
the maximum allowable size of the country's commercial farms in a move
economists warned would severely hamper the agricultural sectors'
The new regulations, which target farms
that have not been listed for compulsory seizure by the government under its
controversial land reform scheme, will limit commercial farms in prime areas
to 250ha, down from several thousands of hectares.
"The government has
decided that every property that has not been gazetted for compulsory
acquisition should immediately be subdivided," Lands and Agriculture Minister
Joseph Made said. The biggest commercial farm in the country's most fertile
regions will now have to be no bigger than 250ha, while farms such as cattle
ranches in the more arid regions will be limited to 2000ha. Most white-owned
commercial farms in Zimbabwe average several thousands of
The move is likely to deal a blow to the few large-scale white
commercial farmers who have escaped having their properties listed for
Made said the properties affected by the agriculture
ministry's new regulations would include plantations, foreign-owned
properties, wildlife conservation areas and others.
Minister Jonathan Moyo, who was also at the press briefing when the
regulations were announced, said that since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980,
the country's white farmers had not fully utilised their land. "There is a
lot of idle capacity in this land," he said. "It has put at risk
Contacted for their reaction, officials from the
Commercial Farmers Union declined to comment until they had more
However, independent economist John Robertson described the new
regulations as a "set of absurdities" that would destroy Zimbabwe's
international competitiveness in agricultural exports. He said Zimbabwe's
exports of tea, sugar, coffee and tobacco, like those of its major rivals,
were produced at a large scale to offset input costs and price
"We are almost guaranteeing we will not function in the
export markets," Robertson said. "The government's regulations are founded on
the idea that we will never have the factories and employment we need to
sustain this country's population," he said.
The new legislation
follows an amendment to the Land Acquisition Act on November 9, when Mugabe
used his discretionary powers to amend the act to give his government the
right to evade standing procedures in the compulsory land redistribution
process. The new law gave the state the right to confine farmers to their
homes for 90 days while their land is reallocated.
government has so far seized 4558 whiteowned farms. With AFP.